‘At Home in the Water’ exhibition at Fabrica in Brighton October – November 2022.
Curated by Rosie Hermon.
‘At Home in the Water’ is a spilt screen film that speaks to the inward & outward journey of the long distance swimmer and documents a performance that myself and musician Ruth Clinton made in the Irish Sea. The film plays tribute to the pioneer swimmer Mercedes Gleitze and draws in many voices of contemporary long distance swimmers from around the world who were interviewed to create the script which is performed by Méabh Meir.
Mercedes Gleitze and her swimming peers from the 1920’s and 30’s would often have music accompanying them on their long distance swims, either sung live or played from a gramaphone on the support boats.
On July 22nd 2022 Ruth Clinton and myself carried out a swim and music performance in Dublin Bay that lasted the length of a marathon swim – 10km. Ruth accompanied me on the pump organ on the boat as I swam the distance.
At Home in the Water was a large 7m projection of my new film. Fabrica also created an archive and heritage section in the gallery space. Here there were archive films of Mercedes Gleitze and swimming in Brighton, as well as a library of books and some oral histories that I recordrd with Brightonian swimmers in the weeks in the run up to the exhibtion.
Making ‘At Home in the Water’ was an epic journey with a great team who worked in challenging conditions to create this work, thanks to:
Ruth Clinton for being prepared to play the pump organ for up to 4 hours on a boat. Usually a 10km would take me 4 hours, but we got such help from the tidal flow and favorable strong winds on the day that the swim only took 2.5 hours. It was a couple of years ago when Ruth and I were chatting, that Ruth compared the playing of a pump organ to a swimmer.
Méabh Meir who performed the script.
The 26 Marathon Swimmers who were interviewed, and from this, the script was written.
Rosie Hermon who has been a partner in this work from the start.
Barry Lynch, Director of Photography, who juggled his multiple cameras like spinning plates on a very rocky, turbulent boat.
Jimmy Murray and the boat crew of The Puffin
James kayak support
Eugene who looked after Ruth and the pump organ
Elena and Catherine swim observers and crew
Additional footage: Corinna Nolan, Fionn Rogers, Clint Withington, Dave Berry
Extra tech help Ed, Giles, Miles
The Fabrica team & Liz Whitehead for trusting my process that goes with the ebb & flow of the ocean, thanks for commissioning this work.
And of course special thanks to Doloranda Pember & Mercedes Gleitze.
I called this new work ’At Home in the Water’ because Brighton is the home of Mercedes, and she would often express that she felt very at home in the water.